Steven Jackson Rumors: Latest on the Falcons, Rams and More
The St. Louis Rams star will "void the final year of his contract March 12," according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This will make him available for any team that wants to sign him.
Which team will look to acquire Jackson?
Obviously, any team that needs to upgrade the rushing attack would love to grab a player with over 10,000 career rushing yards. An eighth-straight season of 1,000 rushing yards shows he can still get it done as well.
Jackson will be a hot commodity throughout the month. Here is the latest information from around the league concerning the veteran player.
St. Louis Rams
Just because the running back will void his contract does not prevent him from re-signing with his former team. In his original report, Jim Thomas stated of Jackson, "He still could end up with the Rams, but they must now compete for his services with the rest of the NFL."
This could all be a ploy for the player to assess his true value before re-entering negotiations with his old team.
At the end of February, general manager Les Snead told Thomas, "We’ve had discussions with Eugene Parker (Jackson’s agent), and thus far things look good."
Obviously, the situation has changed since that point. However, it is apparent that both sides were close to an agreement and everyone would be happy if the running back returned to St. Louis.
It might be tougher now, but this is still a very likely scenario.
The Atlanta Falcons finished 29th in the league in rushing last season and now have an opening at the running back position.
According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this could lead to a pursuit of Jackson on the free-agent market:
As far as outside free agents, it appears that Steven Jackson, who reportedly will void his contract with the Rams, will be the top target in light of the release of running back Michael Turner.
Michael Turner had a horrible season in 2012, totaling only 800 yards at 3.6 yards per carry. However, the question remains whether the team would trust a new aging running back to replace the old one.
With Matt Ryan throwing to Roddy White and Julio Jones, the Falcons have one of the best passing offenses in the NFL. However, there is very little balance in the rushing attack. This will be needed for the team to get over the hump and win the Super Bowl.
Jackson would likely jump at the chance to play for a contender with a clear opening on the depth chart.
Other Potential Fits
As soon as information came out that Jackson was likely to void his contract, speculation started about possible landing spots.
ESPN's John Clayton responded to a question in a mailbag saying that the Green Bay Packers would be a good fit:
I think that would be a great idea. Jackson isn't going to make $7 million this year...Although the Rams want him back, I think he will hit the market. If that is the case, Thompson could offer $5 million and see whether that could lure Jackson to Green Bay. He would be perfect for that offense.
Nate Davis of USA Today listed a few potential options, but the Detroit Lions is one intriguing choice for Jackson.
Their offense is woefully imbalanced, and Jahvid Best's lingering concussion aftereffects signal he won't ever return. Jackson, who's superior to Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell, could restore the attack to an elite level.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com was more succinct when explaining that the Indianapolis Colts should pursue Jackson, saying, "They have money to burn and the need for some veteran reliability in the backfield."
Vick Ballard was solid in his first year with the Colts, but Jackson would certainly be an upgrade in the rushing game.
Each of these teams can provide playing time to various degrees and a legitimate shot at the playoffs. However, the Packers might have the best of both worlds as he would be able to start for a title contender.
Still, this is a player that will continue to generate interest until he signs his next contract.
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